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IFC’s Portlandia Season 3 – 092412

Keep Portland Geared

10 Holiday Gift Ideas from Portlandia

Portlandia returns January 21st at 10/9c on IFC.

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Jaded and indifferent toward the notion of commercialized holidays, the trendsetting characters of Portlandia aren’t the type to be rushing doorbuster sales on Black Friday. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be exchanging artisanal home cheeses and letterpress-stamped gift receipts over yuletide micheladas. (It just feels more authentic this way.)

Of course, this means more thought must be put into personalizing a present, far beyond what a Barnes & Noble gift card could accomplish. With that in mind — and with the charitable spirit of winter solstice in our hearts — here are 10 holiday gift ideas with the steampunk barista, communal gardener, and pedicab driver in mind.

1. Bird stencils ($4.73)

1. Put a Bird on It
Colorful avian silhouettes liven up everything — from antique coffee grinders to mason jar light fixtures. And why rob your acquaintances from the pleasures of crafting by buying a piece of seashell art with a boring gull already painted on? Grab a pack of stencils and open your loved one’s horizons to “putting a bird on it.” (Stuff the Portlandia Activity Book in their stocking for more fun.)


2. Gourmet Cacao ($13.57)

2. Cacao
If you’re hearing the word “cacao” repeated day-in and day-out, you’re not alone. The classy gourmet chocolate may cost roughly ten times that of a Hershey’s bar, but where else can you fine-tune a snack into percentages? Cacao: It’s as fun to eat as it is to whisper into your partner’s ear as he or she is sleeping.


3. Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir ($16.77)

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Riverhead Books

This October, Sleater-Kinney member and Portlandia co-creator Carrie Brownstein bore her soul in her book Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir. Opening up about her life on tour and the complex relationship she had with her parents, Brownstein produced a poignant autobiography that’ll stuff the finest stocking.


4. The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local ($18.10)

Portlandia Cookbook

Clarkson Potter

Does this sound familiar? You went dumpster diving this morning and foraged a case of chocolate pudding that’s a mere two days past expiration, but the rest of your adult dodgeball team is coming tonight — and, boy, do they like their snack packs aged! Well, it’s time to ditch those boring old discarded meals and learn the ways of Portlandia‘s culinary experts!


5. Exercise Ball ($24.97)

Portlandia exercise ball

Just because you’re the mayor of the largest city in Oregon doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore your core. So friends of municipal leaders would be remiss not to gift them an exercise ball for isolating, strengthening, and bouncing — lots of bouncing. How else are they gonna look down their noses at Seattle?


6. Sunlight Therapy Lamp and 200ct bottle of Vitamin D ($65.99)

Portlandia Goths

The Pacific Northwest isn’t well acquainted with the big orange circle in the sky, commonly referred to as “the Sun” — a regional colloquialism originating somewhere in Southern California. So as your Portland pals are staring longingly at the vast grey bleakness, give them the gift of the only light they’ll see for most of the new year. And don’t forget the Vitamin D supplements!


7. One Year of a Digital Newsstand Subscription (Price Varies)

7. Did You Read
Did you read that piece about executive bindles in the Times? Did you catch that Cosmo article about books clubs being infiltrated by ISIS? Did you read? Did you read?!?! Keeping up with the latest think pieces would cost you a fortune in periodical storage in print form, so why not pony up for a year’s worth of digital magazines? Op-eds aren’t going to detract themselves.


8. Battlestar Galactica Ultimate Collection on Blu-ray ($81.99)

Portlandia next episode

At a time when television series are resurrected if viewers wish hard enough — or fund it themselves — fans should never give up hope that their favorite series is dead for good. (Even if that means finding someone who merely shares the name of the show’s creator.) But in the meantime, why not stock up on the Cylons that already exist and hold your own “next episode!” binge party?


9. Tattoo Removal ($500 per session)

9. Bad Tattoo
Look, we’ve all gone through our phases. Be it goth, ska, or Ani, our fleeting fandoms will occasionally get us into jams that are, uh, kinda permanent. So rather than let your inked buddies make a first impression that’s a little “sophomore year ’93,” get those Eddie Vedder portraits and “DUMP QUAYLE” slogans blasted off with a powerful laser.


10. Microhouse ($30,000)

10. Microhouse
Fact: The human body was never meant for a habitat larger than 400 square-feet. Anything beyond the size of a toolshed is needless luxury. So if you have 30 Gs to spare, set your closest friend up with the most efficient living space available. Budding manifesto authors gotta find their muses somewhere! (For a more moderately priced way to live the Portlandia life, give the gift of the Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors book.)

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

via GIPHY

IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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